Letters to the Editor: Not Only Haredim

File photo: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish during the funeral of prominent Jewish Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Jerusalem, April 26, 2005.
File photo: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish during the funeral of prominent Jewish Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Jerusalem, April 26, 2005.Credit: Kevin Frayer/AP

Not only Haredim

In response to “The Burning Issue" (Moran Sharir, December 2).

Haaretz devotes an entire page to the opening of a second crematorium in Israel. Is that event really worthy of that much space? I am not certain whether your reporter was intent upon giving this new business free publicity, or on proving that cremation is now an acceptable alternative to burial in Jewish circles.

The latter is certainly the impression the article gave, especially since it referred to anyone who opposes cremation as “ultra-Orthodox.” It is true that the Haredim were the ones who attempted physically to prevent the opening of the first crematorium, but they were not the only Jews to feel that cremation is not a proper Jewish way to deal with the dead.

Orthodox Judaism, including Modern Orthodoxy, is also opposed to burning dead bodies, as is the Masorti/Conservative Movement. I am confident that the vast majority of Jews find it an abhorrent practice.

Since its inception the religion of Israel has seen the body as being created in the image of God. This is the very basis for treating human life as sacred. We respect life by respecting our bodies while alive and after death as well. Therefore we do not destroy them. Burning bodies is what the Nazis did and if that was abhorrent before the Shoah, after the Shoah it is doubly so. One does not have to be ultra-Orthodox in order to oppose cremation. One need only be a respecter of human life and of Jewish tradition.

Rabbi Reuven Hammer


No anti-Semitism?

In response to “The Holy of Holies” (Gideon Levy, December 2).

If Gideon Levy were to visit the memorial in Sheikh Jarrah for the 78 Jewish doctors, nurses, students and academics roasted alive by Palestinians on April 13, 1948, would he see any anti-Semitism? He sees not a scintilla of anti-Semitism in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, even though BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti says its SOLE purpose is Israel’s “euthanasia.” Barghouti is well aware that the Nazi T4 Euthanasia Program was the foundation of the Final Solution as enacted in the Wannsee Protocol of January 1942. No anti-Semitism there?

On CNN in 2014, Marc Lamont Hill declared that the kidnapping and brutal murders of Jewish teenagers Gilad Shaar Eyal Yifrah Naftali Fraenkel was not “terrorism,” only “resistance.” No anti-Semitism there, Mr. Levy?

In November 1947, in response to the United Nations offer of a country called Palestine, Jerusalem Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini said “Murder the Jews. Murder all of them!” No anti-Semitism there, Mr. Levy?

Is there anti-Semitism anywhere, Mr. Levy?

Richard Sherman

Margate, Florida

Every country should have a Gideon Levy

Marc Lamont Hill’s speech at a United Nations conference was made with compassion and humility for the plight of the Palestinian people. One only has to look at the number of UN resolutions critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, building of illegal settlements, killings etc.

Israel is currently in breach of, or has been the subject of, over 30 UN Security Council resolutions directed at it alone for violations which it has never taken action to remedy. Those who are critical of Lamont Hill’s words should look more closely at the illegal actions of the Israeli state. Sooner or later, hopefully sooner, the American people will wake up to the fact that a foreign country is abusing the American electoral system, using the media for their own propaganda. As for the writer of this article, every country should have a Gideon Levy, surely a man for all seasons.

John C. Walsh, via Haaretz.com

Classic anti-Semitism and dishonest as well

This piece is worse than stupid. It’s totally dishonest. It’s the perfect example of “fake news.” First of all Israel is criticized and attacked on a regular basis in mainstream American and worldwide media. So the premise of Gideon Levy’s is a lie. Second of all, Marc Lamont Hill didn’t “criticize” Israel — he called for its elimination!!! A Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea means no Jewish state — no Israel. He knows it, Gideon Levy knows it and Haaretz knows it, yet you published this dishonest, virulently hateful, anti-Semitic article.

This is classic anti-Semitism. “The Jews control the media; Israel is untouchable.” All classic anti-Semitic attacks. This article is dangerous, proving once again that progressives are a great danger to Israel and all democracies, for in the end progressives support the anti-Democratic forces around the world in the name of “morality.”

They supported Castro — Che Guevara was their darling. They stand with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. They even stand with Iran against America and Israel.

Ed Farbe, via Haaretz.com

The goal of BDS

In response to “‘Our online lives are killing us’” (Yair Ettinger, November 30).

This long interview with Alana Newhouse, the editor of the American Jewish magazine Tablet, shows a number of interesting trends. Newhouse says that in recent years comments made by people on the internet have become more toxic. People feel that in order to get their point across they must become downright obnoxious. I believe that this has been going on for much more than the last three or four years. I cannot comment on Twitter or Facebook, as I don’t use them, but the comments I see on Ynet certainly prove Ms. Newhouse’s point. Some are from Jews, I guess mostly religious, but there are also non-Jews who comment regularly. 90 percent of the comments support Israel unequivocally. A few comments are reasonable in their language and thought. Some are messianic, some stupid and illogical, and many are obnoxious.

Newhouse seems to be trying to please everybody and to avoid political land mines, but when talking about the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, she mentions that there are people who wish to delegitimize Israel.

It’s true that there are people in the world who would like to see Israel ceased to exist, but that is not the basic aim of BDS, which wants Israel to end the occupation.

Just as BDS was used to force the white apartheid government in South Africa to give equality and political rights to the nonwhite peoples of that country, BDS is trying to persuade Israel to agree to negotiate the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

I do not buy into the concept that if Israel continues the status quo eventually the Palestinians will give up the struggle. A more serious problem for Israel is that most of the countries of the world will never agree to the status quo which exists today in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I find it frustrating that my government does not realize that today it can negotiate from strength.

We are not threatened by any Arab state, but by two small militias that are not an existential threat to Israel. Our country’s military economic and technological strength is far greater than that of anyone else in the Middle East. Who can guarantee that in another 50 or a hundred years this par will continue?

Stan Sagie

Ramat Yishai



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